ICYMI: Our Social Media Posts This Week – Nov. 3 – 9, 2019

Below is a review of the posts (on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter) from the past week. You can check out the full posts by clicking on the links.

In the post on Sunday 11/3/19 we saw that a jury awards longtime Walmart employee $5.2M in damages in discrimination case. The employee is deaf and visually impaired but had worked at the store for 16 years as a cart pusher. Then a new manager arrived. What the manager did to the employee is in the post. The employee’s medical condition had not changed. The employee attempted to comply (the post explains what he did); then the manager took the steps listed in the post. This all ended in a 3-1/2 day jury trial; the award was huge (as the post notes). Walmart is deciding how to proceed.

TAKEAWAY: don’t discriminate against a disabled employee – and before you remove or change a long-standing accommodation, check with legal counsel as to the potential ramifications.

The post on Monday 11/4/19 told us that Fox News faces a lawsuit alleging sex orientation bias against makeup stylist. We noted that decisions from this SCOTUS term will (hopefully) draw some bright lines. So, in this new suit, the plaintiff is Juan, who identifies as a homosexual male of Colombian heritage. He was hired in January 2017. Shortly after, he alleges the harassment began as noted in the post. Juan complained to his supervisor, to no avail. But a few days later, the supervisor started questioning him as the post notes. There are additional incidents of discrimination and harassment too – such as an anchor getting her hair done when a news story came on. The anchor made a discriminatory comment (see the post), Juan responded, and the anchor then made another discriminatory comment (again, see the post). More allegations are also in the post. The final straw came in September 2018 and he was discharged on the basis noted in the post. Yep, he sued and here we are.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure you have proof before taking adverse action against an employee in any protected group – the publicity might be as bad or worse than the actual damages.

The post on Tuesday 11/5/19 was about what can be done about tenant who consistently breaks the rules of an Association. The short answer: it depends on what the Governing Documents provide. For example, if they require that any tenancy be approved by the Board (or management agent), and it wasn’t, then eviction might be appropriate (but beware what is noted in the post) or so might the the action as suggested in the post. On the other hand, there might be recourse against the owner as noted in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Before taking action that might or might not be allowed, consult with a community association attorney (like us).

The post on Wednesday 11/6/19 was about the EEOC suing a convenience store for refusing to hire clerk with Tourette’s Syndrome. The applicant had a facial tic; he applied to be a part-time clerk in the Express Mart. The store manager made a derogatory remark to the assistant manager about the tic, then did what’s in the post. And now the store finds itself as a defendant in a suit on the bases noted in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Don’t treat persons with physical or mental disabilities differently – unless they ask for accommodation, in which case you should follow the legal interactive process. Consult a lawyer to stay on the legal side.

In the post on Thursday 11/7/19 we saw that a waitress got fired for refusing to serve transphobic customers. Brittany worked as a waitress at a bar & grill. She refused to serve customers at a table after they expressed transphobic views to another customer. Brittany then took the steps noted in the post, after which she went home. She then posted about the incident and was fired. That led to another post listed in the post. Why the employer fired her is also in the post. Brittany has said that she will file a charge with the EEOC.

TAKEAWAY:  Treat all employees the same, but make sure that treatment is legal.

The post on Friday 11/8/19 told us that a worker’s ‘clear pattern’ of performance problems allowed Nike to prevail in retaliation case. Jessica was a manager of a Converse store. Multiple employees complained about her, as noted in the post. Thereafter, she made a compliant about how another worker behaved; it is listed in the post. Thereafter, the employer discharged Jessica and she sued. The trial court granted summary judgment for the employer. Jessica appealed. The appellate court (the Third Circuit, whose decisions are precedential in PA), affirmed. The basis on which the affirmation rested is in the post.

TAKEAWAY: Before discharging an employee, make sure there is nothing that might lead to a claim (or counterclaim) against the company and take the steps noted in the post; also consult an employment lawyer.

Finally, in the post yesterday 11/9/19, we learned that an estate plan should be a part of your birthing plan. We noted this as a good reminder to all, at any stage of life, to have these documents in place and up to date. Why do birth and estate plans go hand in hand? Because accidents do happen, during birth and otherwise, so you should get your legal affairs in order before something happens. One of those legal documents is a Will; one thing it should provide for is who will be the guardian(s) of any minor children at the time of your death. The post mentions some things to think about for that. The post also mentions other legal documents to have in place as part of your estate plan, including a power of attorney and living will (also called an health care proxy or advanced health care directive).

TAKEAWAY: Put your estate plan in place when there is no fire burning so you have time to think about what you want. Contact me to help you review and update what you have or prepare new documents to fit your circumstances now and in the future.

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